Being the medical mystery I am, I had, at one point, five doctors drooling over my gouty foot today. I wouldn’t have minded so much except it wasn’t that foot that was hurting.
And boy was it hurting. Last night I drifted in and out of pain-wracked slumber which convinced me that my swollen left foot was not in the grip of gout. As I’ve explained, ad nauseum, gout only hurts when it is touched. It never throbs or send great stabbing pains through the top of your foot.
By 8am, Mum had gone through all manner of plans for my foot, ending up with taking me to A&E at the hospital. I managed to hobble to the car (walking was decidedly unpopular with my nerve endings) then, wearing only one thong, to the emergency waiting room.
There was the usual palaver of registering me as an alien (I’m still not sure why Mum had to volunteer the information that I live in the UK when she could have just said I was visiting her) and then, eventually, I was seen by the triage nurses. And what a jolly pair they were. And quite handy with a marking pen. They not only circled the red bits on my foot (see the photo) but they also put dashes around my ankle, showing the surgeon where to cut.
Once they’d given me some drugs, we went back to the waiting room, this time waiting for doctors. Suddenly doctors Alison, Sean and Edward stood before us. Alison explained that Sean and Edward were interns on their first day and would I mind them hanging around. Mum then told them that her daughter looked after the new interns. When asked for Denise’s name they all blanched and said “Oh yes, we know Denise!”
Anyway, we had the usual chat about gout, which I dismissed, saying I thought it was infected by something. Sean was then asked to take some blood, which he did admirably. And we waited for a bit.
While we waited, a woman came into Fast Track (for that’s where we were) on crutches. She’d trodden on some glass last week but her doctor hadn’t managed to remove it all and her foot was killing her. She asked to be knocked out before they excavated further. They gave her gas as she apologised for any swearing and clawing she might do while under.
On our side of the room, we were joined by another few doctors bringing the total up to five. There was Sean, Edward, Roger, Alison and an unnamed female. Roger, clearly the senior doctor, gave them a geographic lesson about my gout. I presume they don’t get many opportunities to see an actual live example in Queensland and he was delighting in it.
I did my best to entertain them. When Dr Alison asked me what I do for gout attacks, I said “I put a DVD in the machine and lay back for the day. It’s the only thing that works.”
Eventually, Doctor Roger asked me what I thought the problem with my left foot was. I said I figured it was infected either by a bite or by standing on something. While I’d thought it was gout to begin with it had presented symptoms that were totally ungoutish last night. He nodded sagely and said he agreed but wanted to wait for the blood test and x-ray results.
He also asked me to take loads of photos of my foot so that future generations could see what happens when you come to Caloundra in the summer.
After a bit of a wait, Edward turned up to put a drip in me so that the antibiotics could be Fast Tracked as well. The poor fella. He jabbed and stabbed and made me look like a sloppy heroin user. He was shaking so much, he could hardly hold the needle. I tried to calm him down by chatting to him about his sister who is doing brain research in Cambridge but it didn’t work. Finally, he gave up and went and fetched an orderly who did it in about 30 seconds. My arms were covered in plasters. I told him he reminded me of JD in Scrubs on his first day. He almost smiled.
The drip ran out in 20 minutes and, shortly after that we left to go back home where I had to sit with my foot elevated. Which I did.
My foot started to feel better almost as soon as I left the hospital and, by the time Tracey & Mitchie came round for tea, I was almost not hobbling.
By the way, a ‘challenge’ is not generally accepted as being the collective noun for a group of medical professionals but I decided to use it anyway.